Cyclone Leaves Thousands Homeless in India

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The effects of the cyclone that hit India this weekend was larger than Hurricane Katrina and stronger than Sandy.

Cyclone Phailin -- a Category 4 storm -- came ashore with 140 mph winds, but thanks to the massive evacuation of nearly 1 million people, the death toll so far is lower than during the last major cyclone in 1999.

Still, hundreds of thousands are now homeless and the devastation is massive. Power outages have isolated many towns, crippling communications and making rescues difficult.

The storm left a trail of destruction in its wake. Torrential rains left many villages underwater and leveled straw huts.

The CBN India disaster relief team is on the ground in Gopalapur where the cyclone made landfall. They're serving up hot meals to victims and relief workers.

Medical clinics are now operational and tarpaulin sheets are being provided to people whose roofs were damaged. 

"[The] primary concern at the moment is to look for survivors," one India Air Force wing commander said. "Communication has been crippled."

Not much is left of the small, coastal fishing village of Padampettam where fishing boats were tossed into houses like unwanted toys.

One woman who returned to her village from a local shelter found her home destroyed.

"I started crying," Buchi Amma said. "I have nothing to eat but puffed rice."

The cyclone wiped out tens of thousands of acres of crops. Many agricultural areas are now unusable, flooded with sea water.

The worst effects of Cyclone Phailin will be felt in the days ahead. Homeless and hungry, tens of thousands of India's people will need help.

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Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News Sr. International Reporter

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